Sunday, May 25, 2008

Outcome Questions

How can you ask better questions to improve your effectiveness?  By asking "outcome questions" you can change direction toward the outcome and away from the solution.  In Unlimited Power : The New Science Of Personal Achievement, Tony Robbins writes about asking better questions using "outcome frames" and "outcome questions."

Outcome Frame
Robbins writes about reframing questions towards the outcome:

There are other ways to direct communication by asking the right questions.  One is the "outcome frame."  If you ask someone what's bothering them or what's wrong, you'll get a long dissertation on just that.  If you ask, "What do you want?" or "How do you want to change things?" you've redirected your conversation from the problem to the solution. 

Outcome Questions
Robbins writes about changing from the problem to the outcome using "outcome questions":

In any situation, no matter how dismal, there's a desirable outcome to be achieved.  Your goal should be to change direction toward that outcome and away from the problem.  Do this by asking the right questions.  There are any number of them.  In NLP, they're referred to as "outcome questions."

Example Outcome Questions
Robbins provides examples of "outcome questions":

  • "What do I want?"
  • "What is the objective?"
  • "What am I here for?"
  • "What do I want for you?"
  • "What do I want for me?"

Key Take Aways
Here's my key take aways:

  • Ask "outcome questions."
  • Use "outcome questions" to move forward and avoid getting stuck in analysis paralysis.
  • No matter how bad the situation is, there's always a desired outcome.  Focus on that.
  • Move away from the problem and towards the solution using "outcome frames" and "outcome questions."

I actually use this technique effectively at work, but I call them "solution-focused questions."  Basically, I focus on how to move forward and getting clarity on where we want to go.  This helps keep the team in a resourceful state rather than get bogged down in problems and excuses.

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